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Romero is a visual storyteller whose large scale photographs intersect Native identity with pop culture references. Known for arresting graphics that critique stereotypes of Native Americans, Romero’s work advances contemporary social and environmental issues, and brings focus to Indigenous female perspective. This showcase presents works from three of the artist’s key series: First American Girl, Native Woman, and Jackrabbit. The presentation coincides with Romero’s upcoming Alcove show at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
In her First American Girl series, Romero examines past misrepresentations of Indigenous women as dolls and seeks to reclaim their Native identities. Working with contemporary Native women, Romero poses each model with their own everyday items and cherished accessories within an individually designed life-size doll box. In contrast to the frequently insensitive and culturally naïve depictions of Indigenous women as dolls, Romero’s distinct portrayals tell each subject’s story, emphasizing and celebrating the diversity of the Indigenous community.
Romero continues her depictions of contemporary Native women, this time through portraiture in her series Native Woman. In rebuttal to the pervasive historic representation of Native women, Romero captures a range of personas in dynamic and powerful portraits. The artist reflects, “It is a goal of mine to create thoughtful content that makes people think of preconceived notions of Native America, that challenges those perceptions , that creates multiple narratives , that all comes from a place of empowerment and celebration—a celebration of resistance.”
As in her other works, Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Spirits of the Desert seeks to bring visibility to the individuals, cultures and history of Indigenous peoples. The series, a manifestation of an oral tradition, features time-traveling visitors from Chemehuevi who have come to the ancestral lands of their sister tribes in the Coachella Valley. In Romero’s vision, “these figures have returned to remind us of our deep connection to the land, the stories contained within it, and how we can live in relation to it.” The works also give nod to the rich social history of the Coachella Valley that predates colonization.
Concurrent with Art Miami, “Larger than Memory: Contemporary Art from Indigenous North America” is on view at the Heard Museum through December 20, 2020. Select upcoming exhibitions will include the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM and the Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, New Mexico.